Florida lawmakers seek to criminalize rushing fields, courts at sporting events
A proposal by two freshmen in the Florida Legislature would make it a first-degree misdemeanor for anyone who rushes onto the field or court of play at a sporting event.
State Sen. Corey Simon, R-Tallahassee, introduced SB 764 on Valentine's Day. It's a companion bill to HB 319, introduced by state Rep. Taylor Yarkosky, R-Montverde, last month.
The bills, titled Interference with Sporting or Entertainment Events, would increase the penalties for those who enter a "covered area" before, during or after a game, making it a first-degree and carrying a penalty of up to a year in jail and fines up to $2,500.
A "covered area" is defined as "any area designated for use by players, coaches, officials, performers or personnel administering a covered event that is on, or adjacent to, the area of performance or play during the period from the opening of the venue's gates to the public to the closing of the gates after the event."
The proposed legislation would also criminalize anyone who spits on a "covered participant" or tosses a "dangerous instrument" onto the field or court.
Currently, storming a field or court is just a trespassing offense.
Florida State fans rushed the football field in November after the Seminoles defeated the Florida Gators 45-38 in Tallahassee, snapping a three-game losing streak in the rivalry.
It's the same rivalry that has seen lemons and oranges tossed onto the field through the decades.
However, Simon, who won a national championship with the Seminoles and later went on to play in the NFL, doesn't seem amused.
If either bill is signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, the new law would take effect in October – just in time for the Florida-Florida State rivalry in Gainesville.
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